Every surfer has a story and this is the latest installment of our Surf ATL Community Spotlight series where we will feature surfers and those part of the surf culture in the Atlanta area. Check out our previous spotlights on Thomas Roginsky, Spencer Broome, Anthony Kennedy, Nick Bramwell, the Merlo Family, Mike Dobbs, Kristian Erik Bjerke, Jamie Eichler, Doug Paul, Brandon Spivia, Robert Hanson, Liam Spoon, Eric Ilustrisimo, Susan Bond, Jason Smith, Garrett Gilfillan, Silvia Saey, Scott Mennicke, Tammie Dalrymple, Wes Espinosa, Peter Gudbrandsen, Kelby Graham, Kayvon Nazarian, Abigail Pierce, and Clark Campbell.
Hey! I’m Katy Harrison, originally from West Palm Beach, FL but have lived in Atlanta since 2005. I love traveling abroad, especially when surfing is involved!
Do you ocean surf, wake surf, river surf, paddle surf? Any or all of the above?
I’ve tried wake and paddle surfing but being out on the ocean surfing is my ultimate happy place.
How did you get into surfing? In Atlanta or somewhere else?
While I hear the surf is good in Atlanta…I played around with surfing in FL as a kid and then fell in love with the sport after spending most of my college summers in LA. I made some great friends at the El Porto break in Manhattan Beach, and still surf with them occasionally, 19 years later.
Where and how often do you surf?
I regularly surf in FL…the Poles in Jacksonville and then Juno Pier, Lake Worth, and Delray Beach in West Palm. I also try to take at least one annual trip to Costa Rica. Still working on my dream to buy a small shack under mango trees with the monkeys in Playa Avellanas.
What is your favorite thing about surfing/What do you do to advance your surfing?
There are so many things I love about surfing but the standouts for me are when you get a 3–4 ft ground swell with crumbling waves, offshores, good friends in the water, followed by a monster-sized breakfast and a nap!!
During Covid, I’ve been concerned about losing endurance and strength in the water so I’ve turned to PT/surfer, Cris Mills, at Surf Strength Conditioning. He has an app where you can purchase programs (I swear by the 12-week Bodyweight Surf Athlete program), and tons of free YouTube content. It’s been a game-changer for strength endurance, mobility, breath-hold practice, and nutrition. I am not sponsored to say this, just a genuine fan!
What are your hopes for the Atlanta surfing community in the future?
We had a really solid surf group in the past called Atlanta Surf Posse, where people of all ages and levels met up for surf trips. Sadly it fizzled over time so I’m happy to see a group come together again! My hope is for more upcoming surf trips, paddle events, river cleanups, brewery meetups, and maybe some live music shows just to name some ideas. Some of my closest Atlanta friends are from the Surf Posse, and I look forward to getting to know more people in Surf ATL!
Any surfers in the Atlanta or Georgia community who should be spotlighted/catch your eye?
Can I tag Reggie to answer these questions next? He knows the lay of the land when surfing in Jacksonville, FL, and is a stand-up paddleboarder and an all-around stand-up guy!